Monday, July 25, 2016

John Oliver on feelings over facts and Colbert on Trumpiness


I opened Marble Machine for a Saturday by writing "I'm just not feeling up to dealing with either Trump's acceptance speech or Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton's pick for Vice President today."  Today, John Oliver made the first part easier by dealing with it himself.

John Oliver discusses last week's unsurprisingly surprising Republican convention.
Thank you, Mr. Oliver, for doing that so I wouldn't have to.  Of course, that's why you're paid the big bucks.

Follow over the jump for how Vox and the Chicago Tribune responded to this segment and tied it to Colbert's "Trumpiness" segment.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Speculative fiction movie nominees at the 2016 Teen Choice Awards, Part 1


At the end of Marble Machine for a Saturday, I told my readers "Stay tuned for Sunday's entertainment feature, which should be a follow up to Speculative Fiction on television at the Teen Choice Awards 2016, this time about the nominated speculative fiction movies."  It's Sunday, so I'm delivering on my promise.

I open with Wochit Entertainment's Teen Choice loves superheroes!

The first round of nomination announcements for the Teen Choice awards are out! Four of the best-represented films are superhero movies from the past year. Despite some backlash from the critics, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice did very well for Teen Choice nominations, including Choice Movie in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category. It also picked up some acting nominations for stars Henry Cavil, Ben Affleck, and Amy Adams. Captain America: Civil War had Choice movie and acting nominations as well. And even though most teens weren't old enough to see the movie, Deadpool managed to bring in Choice Action Adventure movie, and acting nominations. Fantastic Four picked up a Choice movie nomination in Sci-fi and Fantasy.
"Fantastic Four," which got five nominations at the 2016 Razzie Awards and won three of them, including a tie for Worst Picture is one of the nominees?  That's not going to win against any kind of decent competition.  It didn't even get a 2016 Saturn Award nomination for best comic-to-film adaptation.

Speaking of which, follow over the jump for part one of this year's movie nominees and my comments on them.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Marble Machine for a Saturday


I'm just not feeling up to dealing with either Trump's acceptance speech or Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton's pick for Vice President today.  Instead, I'm going to succumb to my "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood and share some ingenious technology in the service of music: Wintergatan - Marble Machine (music instrument using 2000 marbles).


Wired explains.
The internet is no stranger to ridiculously complex attempts to make music with technology. But this might be one of the most purely spectacular attempts yet to take something which is now incredibly easy, and make it virtually impossible to comprehend.

The Wintergartan Marble Machine, built by Swedish musician Martin Molin and filmed by Hannes Knutsson, is a hand-made music box that powers a kick drum, bass, vibraphone and other instruments using a hand crank and 2,000 marbles.

The machine has to be seen to be appreciated: with dozens of beautifully carved wooden parts, tracks, pulleys and funnels for collecting and rerouting spent marbles, it's a true work of art. And though marble machines as an art form of their own have a long and complex history, this might be one of the best.
Slate and NPR also have stories on this Rube Goldberg music machine.

Stay tuned for Sunday's entertainment feature, which should be a follow up to Speculative Fiction on television at the Teen Choice Awards 2016, this time about the nominated speculative fiction movies.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Comments and likes for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


"Coming up, the most liked and commented on entries from last year" closed out yesterday's Space and sustainability news for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  Since today is Flashback Friday on social media, it's another good day for a retrospective.

I already mentioned the most commented on entries from last year in Drink to candidates for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
I begin with Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates published August 2, 2015.  It ended the year as the tenth most read entry of the fifth year of this blog with 973 page views and 12 comments, which made it the most commented on entry posted during the fifth year of this blog.  It was not, however, the entry that got the most comments during the blogging year just past.  That honor goes to Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties, which had 46 of its 54 comments posted during last year because of a battle with a gaggle of spammers.  That is a story for another entry...
Actually, I have already told that story in two installments, beginning with Record comments and 500,000 page views for September 2015 and other meta.
Thanks to a battle with several persistent spammers, Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties, posted August 3, 2014, is now the most commented on entry in the history of the blog with 52 comments, half of them deleted.  It started off with eight comments.  Thirty more were posted during September 2015, making this the most commented on entry this month.  Fourteen more came in October, so it will likely be the most commented on entry this month as well.
It continued in Record page views, comments, and 100th follower: Monthly meta for October 2015.
[L]ast month exceeded last month's 74 comments with 89, another new record...I'm  celebrating of the record month by sharing the entries with the most comments, most likes, and most page views, beginning with the post that got the most comments last month, "Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties."  Thanks to a battle with several persistent spammers, this post is now the most commented on entry in the history of the blog with 52 comments, half of them deleted.  Fourteen more came in October, beating out the next entry by eight.
This entry was also among the three that tied for most commented last year, again because of spammers.  As much as I detest spammers, sometimes they can be useful, although I had to resort to quoting Monty Python in response.

Follow over the jump for the entries that got the most pluses on Google+ and saves and likes on Pinterest.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Space and sustainability news for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


I closed Holidays for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News by telling my readers to "Stay tuned for three more entries in this series, space and environment news, comments and likes, and the fate of the top ten posts at the start of the blogging year."  Since it's Throwback Thursday, it's time for the "space and environment news" post, beginning with a hopeful story, President Obama's plan to save the bees from May 20, 2015.

This was the thirteenth most read entry of the past year, earning 603 page views by March 20, 2016.  I be a good environmentalist and recycle the relevant paragraph from Monthly meta for May 2015 to explain how it got most of its readers.
"President Obama's plan to save the bees" was the most read entry of the past month with 476 page views according to the default counter and 489 according to the raw counter.  It earned its page views from being shared in a comment to The Era of Impact at Greer's blog, then at the Coffee Party's main Facebook page, where it reached 37K people, had 966 post clicks, and earned 680 likes.  The post clicks resulted in more than 300 page views from FB alone.  The final push came from Infidel 753 including it as part of his Link round-up for 24 May 2015.
The day after I posted the entry, DNews uploaded the following video.

President Obama has issued a plan to save the bees. What exactly does he want to do, and why does he want to do this?
As I wrote in the original post, "I approve of this Crazy Eddie plan and wish it all the success possible.  Our food supply is depending on it."

That was the top non-climate environment news last year.  Follow over the jump for the top space story.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Twilight Sparkle disapproves of plagiarism


I'm not done with Melania Trump: Rickrolling and Plagiarism, for when Booman asked "what is the stupidest thing you've seen today?"  I responded with how the effort to spin Melania's speech backfired.
Sean Spicer used Akon, John Legend, and My Little Pony to defend Melania's speech.
“Melania Trump said, ‘You work hard for what you want in life.’ Akon said, ‘Work hard for what you get in life.’ John Legend said, ‘Work hard.’”

“You’re quoting Akon and John Legend?” asked MSNBC’s Craig Melvin.

“Hold on, it’s getting better,” said Spicer. “Melania Trump said, ‘The strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.’ Twilight Sparkle from ‘My Little Pony’ said, ‘This is your dream, anything you can do in your dreams.”
John Legend tweeted "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative."  Tara Strong, who voices Twilight Sparkle, tweeted "This is not Pony Princess approved. I'm Twilight Sparkle & do not approve this message."  She then tweeted "Plagiarism is NOT magic"!  It's only the second day and Twilight Sparkle is reading the Riot Act to the Trump campaign.


I don't know if that's stupid, but it sure is silly.
Even so, it's a better joke than The Rabid Puppies nominating "My Little Pony" for a Hugo.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Melania Trump: Rickrolling and Plagiarism


"Excuse me, I'm going to watch 'Young Za Za Gabor' AKA Melania Trump speak." So read the Facebook status I left last night when I went from one screen to another to watch what I expected to be the highlight of last night's session of the Republican National Convention. I was not disappointed and got more entertainment value than I was expecting. To begin with, Mrs. Trump rickrolled the audience.


I caught that instance of copying at the time, but I didn't catch the next one until after the speech: Comparing Melania Trump and Michelle Obama's speeches.

At least one passage in Melania Trump's speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention plagiarized Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
I should have been appalled at this. Instead, it amused me even more. Thanks to Melania, I've had my daily dose of irony.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Emmy nominations for acting showcase diversity

I wrote the following program note to conclude Twenty-three Emmy nominations for 'Game of Thrones' may suck the oxygen away from other speculative fiction nominees.
I'll have more on the Emmy Awards tomorrow. In at least one way, they're better than the Oscars.
Wochit Entertainment has the story in 2016 Emmy Nominations Show Diversity Of All Sorts.

The nominations for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced this morning. It showed progress. For the first time ever, all the lead acting categories include at least one actor of color. 21 actors of color received nominations overall, in lead and supporting categories combined. Cuba Gooding Jr.'s portrayal of O.J. Simpson was nominated as well as Viola Davis For Her Role in How to Get Away With Murder, Rami Malek as a genius hacker whose delusions have become our delusions in Mr. Robot and Kerry Washington and Aziz Ansari.
In this way, the Emmys are like the SAG Awards, where diversity was also celebrated.

By the way, one of the performers among the 21 was the first person ever nominated for an acting Emmy for work in "The Walking Dead" franchise. From the Los Angeles Times' Complete list of 2016 Emmy nominees:
Outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series

Patrika Darbo, “Acting Dead”
Erinn Hayes, “Childrens Hospital”
Janet Varney, “Everyone's Crazy But Us”
Michelle Ang, “Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462”
Tracie Thoms, “Send Me: an original web series”
Congratulations, Michelle Ang! You managed to do something Andrew Lincoln and the rest of the cast has not been able to achieve in six seasons. I'm hoping you return in “Fear the Walking Dead” proper as an antagonist.

In addition, “Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462” was nominated for Outstanding Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series. That's something "The Walking Dead" has never done in six seasons, either. It has to content itself with two nominations, one for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Limited Series, Movie Or Special and another for Outstanding Special Visual Effects In A Supporting Role. Those are nice, but they aren't Best Drama or Best Actress. That's what the Saturn Awards are for.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Twenty-three Emmy nominations for 'Game of Thrones' may suck the oxygen away from other speculative fiction nominees


"Next week, the Emmys!"  That's how I ended Speculative Fiction on television at the Teen Choice Awards 2016.  Since it's "next week," it's time to fulfill my promise.

Once again, The Wall Street Journal has the top story in 'Game of Thrones' Grabs 23 Emmy 2016 Nominations.

HBO series 'Game of Thrones' led the way Thursday at the announcement of the nominations for 2016 Emmys, which will take place in September. The WSJs Lee Hawkins discusses some of the other nominees.
Looks like "Game of Thrones" could have two big nights at the Emmy Awards again.  I just hope it doesn't suck all the oxygen out of the air from the rest of the spectulative fiction shows nominated, like it did last year.

Follow over the jump for the categories in which the show has been nominated.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Trump-Pence: TP for Cornholio's bunghole


When I last mentioned The Penguin The Donald, I wrote that he was worse than George Wallace.  That written, I was hoping his pick for Vice President would provide more entertainment than Wallace's running mate Curtis LeMay.  In particular, I commented and repeated "please, let it be either Gingrich or Palin--the laughs will keep coming all the way to Election Day!"  Newt Gingrich was in the running as was Chris Christie, but as the following clip from Stephen Colbert shows, Mike Pence got the nod instead.

Time to check your Vice-Presidential fantasy league. If you picked Mike Pence, you might be a winner.
Colbert had so much fun with Pence as Trump's VP pick that he opened his monologue the next day with America's Got Mike Pence Fever!

Excitement about Trump's running-mate announcement has spread like a contagion. The main symptom of Pence Fever: Knowing who Mike Pence is.
I knew who he was, but I have never blogged about him before.*  Time for a Mike Pence label.


The hilarity continued when Trump's campaign released its new logo incorporating Pence as its pick.  Legal Insurrection, Huffington Post, and Wonkette all had field days documenting the hilarious reactions to the unfortunate graphic design.  My favorite was one that captured the first thought I had when I saw the logo.


For those of you who don't get the joke, here's a video demonstrating it.


*Snork*  Now I know what to call Mike Pence--Cornholio!


Now I've found the hilarity in Mike Pence as Trump's running mate.  It almost makes up for Gingrich not being on the ticket--almost.  Let's see if Cornholio can provide more comedic inspiration between now and November.

ETA: Raw Story just reported "After a day of ridicule for a poorly designed Trump/Pence campaign logo that launched a thousand memes, the Trump campaign disappeared the design from their official website overnight."  Well, that was quick.

*Nor have I blogged about his most notorious act as Indiana Governor, signing Indiana Senate Bill 101, titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  That was actually perfect for me, because it was about social justice, drum corps, and gaming.  Yes, really.  Maybe I should write about it.  Better late than never.